Bulgarian Government Resigns

Bulgaria has maintained very good fiscal disciple over the last several years – but at the expense of services and social benefits. Finally, Bulgaria’s citizens have said “enough is enough.” They rallied in mass across the country to protest rising energy costs, and the government responded today by resigning.

Please pray that Bulgarians would look to God for the way forward, and that his peace would govern the country.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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People of Peace in Practice

Earlier this year I wrote about people of peace through the lens of Luke 10. This video is another way to think about people of peace from a practical perspective:

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Church Planting Movements and Discovery Bible Studies

The underlying theme of Luke 10 is that people need to meet Jesus. This is the why Jesus sent the 72 disciples ahead of him “to every town and place he was about to go” (verse 1). The disciples’ job was to prepare people of peace and their families to meet Jesus (verses 5-7).

People still need to meet Jesus today. But where will they meet him? In dreams and visions, to be sure. But the most certain place for people to meet Jesus is in the pages of the Bible, where “they will all be taught by God” (John 6:45).

This is why the fourth CPM transition point of coaching people of peace to lead Discovery Bible Studies for their family and friends is so important – it is a proven way to help whole families meet Jesus for themselves.

Questions for discussion:

  1. What are the benefits of a person of peace leading his or her family and friends in a Discovery Bible Study?
  2. What makes it hard to coach a person of peace to lead his or her family and friends in a Discovery Bible Study?
  3. How can you or are you introducing people of peace and their family and friends to the Discovery Bible Study process?
  4. What other lessons are you learning about coaching a person of peace to lead a Discovery Bible Study for his or her family and friends?

______________________________

Discovery Bible Study Format

Source: David L. Watson (see David’s blog and his list of Scripture passages from Creation to Christ for use with people of peace, their families and friends.)

Group Interaction
1. What are you thankful for this week?
2. What needs do you have?
3. How can we help meet those needs?
4. What are some of the needs of specific people around you?
5. How can we help meet those needs?

Accountability
1. What did we learn last time we met?
2. How did you apply what we learned last time?
3. With whom did you share last week’s lesson?

Bible Study
1. Read the Bible passage
2. Paraphrase the Bible passage
3. Apply the Bible passage:
+ What does this teach us about God?
+ What does this teach about people in general and you specifically?
+ If this is true, how would you obey it?

Wrap-up
1. With whom do you plan to share what you just learned?
2. How are we going to meet the needs that we talked about earlier?

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Easter in Bulgaria

Easter is a fascinating part of Bulgarian culture. Consider the following:

  • Bulgarians observe Easter according to the Julian calendar. This year Easter won’t becelebrated until Sunday April 15th – a week after it is celebrated by Protestants and Catholics.
  • The Paschal, or Easter service was officiated last year by 96-year-old Patriarch Maxim, the head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, at Sofia's St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

  • Whereas American’s might brave an Easter Sunrise Service, Orthodox Bulgarians go to church Saturday night in order to celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the stroke of midnight.
  • Easter is the most important day of the year for the Orthodox Church. Now for the fascinating part: some Bulgarians wonder whether Americans even celebrate Easter! (What’s the most important day of the year in your church?)

But Easter is meant to be more than a fascinating part of any given culture. The resurrection of Jesus is meant to be an integral part of each and every person’s life.

Please pray that God would use the celebration of Easter to compel hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians and their families to “want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, [to become] like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).

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Church Planting Movements and Households

Jesus established the importance of building relationships with entire households in Luke 10:5. However, it is not until the book of Acts that we clearly see the powerful results of doing this:

  • Cornelius and his household are saved (Acts 10, 11:1-18)
  • Lydia and her household are saved (Acts 16:11-15)
  • The Philippian jailer and his household are saved (Acts 16:22-34)
  • Crispus and his household are saved (Acts 18:1-8)

Jesus did not send his disciples out to bring individuals into the Kingdom of God; Jesus sent them out to announce the coming of the Kingdom of God to families. That is why getting to know the family of the person of peace and their close friends is the third major step in the CPM process.

Questions for discussion:

Here are some questions that I hope will help you discover and discuss more about reaching whole families with the Gospel.

  1. What do you think about the distinction between bringing individuals into the Kingdom of God and announcing the coming of the Kingdom of God to families?
  2. What do typical families look like in your community?
  3. How are you getting to know the family and friends of people of peace?
  4. What other lessons are you learning about reaching “households”?

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Interested in learning more? Check out the current issue of Mission Frontiers, as well as our Families and Households page.

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Service of Forgiveness

Today is the last Sunday before Lent, and on this day Orthodox clergy and laity kneel one by one and ask one another for forgiveness. This Service of Forgiveness is an important reminder of the emphasis that Jesus placed on forgiving each other:

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”(Matthew 6:14-15)

Many Bulgarians will also use this day to ask their parents to forgive them for any wrongs they have committed. For some, however, this day has also become associated with pagan practices, including the kukeri dance.

Please pray that all Bulgarians would come to know Jesus, “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14), and that they would then live a life of daily forgiveness.

Cheese and eggs are traditional foods on the Day of Forgiveness

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